HAF feature interview with JEON Soo-il, <Another Country>

by KIM Seong-hoon   03.08.2012
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Director JEON Soo-il is due to participate in the upcoming Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) with the project <Another Country>. At the time of writing, he was shooting his latest film <El Condor Pasa>(working title) in Busan and Peru. <Another Country>will be his next film after <El Condor Pasa>.
Jeon’s previous films include <With a Girl of Black Soil> (2007), which won two awards at the Venice film festival, <Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells>, which screened at Karlovy Vary and Sao Paulo, <I Came From Busan> (2009), which went to the San Sebastian film festival, and his most recent <Pink> (2011) which premiered at last year’s Busan International Film Festival.
Produced by Dongnyuk Film, Jeon’s <Another Country> has a budget of KW1 billion (US$889,000), with plans for half of that to come from Korea and half from a foreign partner. Due to his shoot, this interview was conducted by email for <Korean Cinema Today> (KCT).
KCT: I heard you are in Busan shooting a film called <El Condor Pasa>.

JEON: It’s a love story between a Catholic priest and a woman. CHO Jae-hyun, who was in <Address Unknown> and <Beyond the Years>, is playing the priest. Cho recently wrapped shooting on director JEON Kyu-hwan’s latest film <Weight> (working title). The woman who falls in love with him is played by BAE Jung-hwa, famous for her role in the play <Owol-ae gyulhon hal-geoya> which roughly translates to “I’m going to get married in May”.
KCT: How much of the shoot will be in Peru?

JEON: We did about 25% of it in Busan. After the domestic shoot is completed, we plan to shoot in Peru until the end of February. Rather than describing the place that Peru is, I think the pivotal point of this film will be to describe the inner workings of the character(s) in a strange place. As always. When I get back to Korea, I plan to finish the post-production by April or May and am aiming at an autumn release domestically.
KCT: How did the story of <Another Country> get started?

JEON: I’m still shooting, so I don’t think it’s at a stage where I can reveal specifics. It started with the set-up of a main character that misses an old love, and finds his way to his loved one. I want to take this set-up and portray it in the form of a road movie, which I personally like.
KCT: Are you planning to shoot this film on location abroad as you did with <Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells> (2008) in Nepal, or with <El Condor Pasa> in Peru?

JEON: Yes. I’m planning to shoot it all over France. Especially in the Marseilles area. Numerous immigrants and illegal aliens from around the world inhabit this harbor city. As in the Korean title “Illegal Alien”, for the main male character who has come to France for the woman he loves, this place, France, is an alien place. In that sense, places are as important as characters in this film. In his journey to find his identity, the place will make the protagonist live in a different kind of world.
KCT: How is the casting going?

JEON: Still looking. I think it will proceed concretely once <El Condor Pasa> is done. I want a male protagonist in his mid-thirties, with delicate sentiment.
KCT: How far along with this project do you think you’ll be by the time HAF starts?

JEON: At that point, we’re probably going to be discussing co-production with a French production company called Neon Films.

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